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Houston police spokesperson Kese Smith said the gun was discovered on Friday by Transportation Security Administration officials in Terminal E at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Howard was questioned and the gun was eventually seized by airport authorities before they allowed him to board a later flight.
Police said Howard would not be charged with a crime.
The Rockets released a statement saying they are aware of the incident and trying to gather more information.
Texas has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the United States. In January 2016, Texas will allow people to openly carry handguns and six months later students age 21 and older will be allowed to carry concealed handguns into classrooms and dormitories on college campuses.